German vs germane

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German means an inhabitant of Germany, a native of Germany or a person of German descent. German also describes an item or custom that traces its roots to Germany or is characteristic of Germany. German is also the term for the language spoken in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The word German is derived from the Latin word Germanus, it is always capitalized.

Germane means relevant to a certain topic, related to the topic being considered. Related words are germanely and germaneness. Today’s meaning of the word germane is derived from Shakespeare. In the play Hamlet,  Act 5, Scene 2, Hamlet says, “The phrase would be more germane to the matter if we could carry cannon by our sides.” Germane is pronounced with the accent on the last syllable, the a is long.


Earlier predictions that German exports would grow 4.5% in 2016 needed to be revised downwards, Anton F. Börner, president of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, said in Berlin. (The Wall Street Journal)

A German film company has claimed before the Commercial Court that two well known Irish film producers have diverted funds out of a film production company to either themselves personally or corporate entitles controlled by them. (The Irish Times)

“It is germane to mention that the Ondo model in health care will be of help in many developing nations since it has been made public in a cathedral of policy formulations that the Chattam House represents”. (The Nation)

There are indeed messages to be had — about family, about perseverance, about tolerance — that are germane to everyone. (The Kitsap Sun)

Or were those items just part of the carefully drawn background, enriching the narrative but not germane to the questions central to the main storyline? (The Montana Standard)